NJ Bill Would Require Drug Company Reps To Be Licensed

Jun 12, 2018

Pharmaceutical industry representatives testify at legislative hearing

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would require pharmaceutical company sales representatives to be licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners.

As a condition of getting a license, the drug reps would have to complete training on ethics and alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain.

Angie Gochenaur with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization says the legislation could prevent valuable interactions between health care professionals and manufacturers.

“While we understand that this issue is being driven by some bad actors, one recent high profile arrest shows that the Attorney General currently has the ability to address the issue which is at the heart of the legislation and the current system is working.”

Pharmaceutical representatives told lawmakers there are ethical codes of conduct and additional regulations are redundant and unnecessary.

But Joanne Chan with the PhRMA trade association acknowledged that the regulations vary from company to company. 

“Different companies do different things. I can’t represent what it is a company is doing. Those are business decisions. But they all do have compliance programs in place.”

Senator Cryan says he’s shocked there are no industry-wide standards.

“It’s quite clear there is a need for legislation. Whether it’s in terms of fee limits, terms of continuing education, and clearly some standards in the industry in terms of these reps. So I’m convinced now that we need to move forward.”